Monday, April 27, 2009

What Are The Two Different Forms Of Hybrid Cars?

Currently, there is a lot of interest in hybrid cars due to the gas prices of recent years. There are two forms of hybrid cars. The first is a parallel hybrid, where there is both a gas and electric supply attached to the transmission of the car and the car is able to use both sources when running. The second is a series hybrid, where the gas portion powers a generator and the generator supplies electricity for the motor to run. These both improve the efficiency of the car, which is why hybrids are favored today. The only drawback for some consumers is the size.

The reason for this is that smaller cars help maintain the efficiency of the car. With a big car the engine is heavier and so when speeding or traveling up an incline, more energy is needed. Further more, because of the size, the hybrid car has an engine that requires less energy to perform its tasks. Then there is the cylinder displacement, which in a large vehicle takes more power. And in terms of cylinders, the smaller hybrid car doesn’t need as many to perform.

The Honda Insight is one of the smallest hybrid cars on the market. It was designed to carry two people. There is hardly any space for cargo or luggage. This design improves the fuel efficiency considerably, but the lack of space is a drawback.

The Toyota Prius has more space than the Insight. It can fit more than four people and the hatchback trunk can carry more cargo or luggage. This design has won Toyota awards and honors but for a family car, today’s consumers are used to having much more room.

Then there is the Honda Civic Hybrid. This car is the same size as a regular Honda Civic. The compartment spaces are maximized as much as possible in this model. Again, for the consumer who is used to driving an SUV or a minivan, this may still be not enough.

And for those consumers, there are some SUV and minivan hybrids available, however they don’t perform well. The efficiency has been compromised by the size. The price tag of these cars is a couple of thousands of dollars more than the regular models so in the end it may not be worth it in terms of gas mileage. So if you are buying a hybrid, it is best to go for the smaller cars and if you are looking for something larger, a hybrid may not be worth it.

About The Author

Jackson Porter is a staff writer at http://www.automobileenthusiast.com and is an occasioanl contributor to several other websites, including http://www.environmental-central.com.

Are Diesel or Hybrid Cars For You?

While everyone is looking to a greener planet, car makers are also doing their best to come out with newer environmentally friendly models. Technological advancement is what is propelling the automotive industry to come out with fuel efficient and zero emission engines, not forgetting the need to search for replaceable energy source as the new alternative power source.

Diesel has been a long time favorite for fuel efficient drivers. With the high compression engine and diesel having higher energy content, it has a potential of pitting against gasoline vehicles in terms of power over efficiency. This can be seen in Audi R10 being a diesel powered car winning the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race consecutively thanks to not having to pop in the pit stop to refuel as frequently as other competitors. Considering the smelly diesel puffs from buses ages ago, it might not be a good choice as an environmentally friendly car.

When we look at hybrid vehicle, we can only look at vehicles with two power sources being slapped together as one. Usually a combination of gasoline engine with an electric motor’s assistance. The green part of a hybrid vehicle is that the car is smart enough to switch off the gasoline engine and make use of the electric motor at certain time, reducing the petrol used. Although the theory sounds flawless, actual efficient driving on a hybrid requires a unique driving style in order to get more miles out of the engine. The promising hybrid vehicles are the topic of discussion these days. Already out there some of the hybrid vehicles such as popular Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and numerous other common production cars with a ‘Hybrid’ or ‘H’ emblem stuck to the boot. The wonder of a hybrid is the energy balancing capability of both motors present in the car itself. Say for instance the car will use the petrol engine to propel the car from standstill and to a stage where the car is cruising, the electric motor will be driving the car, putting the pistons to rest. This intelligent concept also includes the regenerative braking capability that charges up the car’s battery so that the electric motor can use it for cruising.

On the other hand, diesel powered vehicles still works the same as a combustion engine. The only difference is newer diesel engines delivers higher power and torque rating thanks to technologies such as common rail diesel engines. With torque being the strong point of diesel cars, it needs a low rev to get to the highest torque compared to petrol engines. Take the Mercedes models for an example, with a CDI engine, some with smaller capacity diesel engine outperforms higher capacity petrol cars. The longer cruise range and low emission green engine makes it a selling point too.

Speaking of which, since hybrid vehicles are powered by a combination of electric motor and gasoline engine, why not a turbocharged common rail diesel engine slapped with an electric motor side by side? Diesel hybrids might be on the way soon once car manufacturers figure out how to balance the heavy gadget filled common rail diesel engine together with heavy battery packs to create a better hybrid. As the hybrid makers say, all they need is torque to move the vehicle from standstill – so why not use a diesel engine?
by: Brenda Williams

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hybrid Car Review: It’s A Baby Nissan Hybrid!

Nissan recently made public its first baby in the hybrid car industry with its 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid! Although it has not been priced yet at the moment, car enthusiast are looking out for its initial release into the hybrid auto market which will be in 2007. On the exterior, the new 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid will assume the similar look of the non-hybrid Altima and will also run on the same gas engine as its non-hybrid counterpart. But this newly-introduced 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid Car will be boasting of its added hybrid electric system that helps reduce gas emissions and maximize its gas mileage with an expected fuel economy of 36 mpg - miles per gallon - for highway driving and 41 mpg - miles per gallon - for city driving.

Emission-wise, the 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid has passed the standard of PZEV or the Partial Zero Emission Vehicle, classified as AT-PZEV, which means to say that this new baby will be ruling the roads of the eight states which has adopted the California standard for vehicle emission tests.

A peek under the hood will tell us that the new 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid Car will have 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine with a power of 158 horsepower and with a CVT powertrain . Together with the hybrid system, it will have a total of 198 horsepower, net! The 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid Car will run with a 40 horsepower permanent magnet synchronized AC motor. Its electric motor will have a 199 lb-ft, torque and a hybrid battery pack of 244.8 Volts.

Not a bad primi for Nissan. And if all goes well, we might expect more hybrid models from Nissan.

JB Anthony is the webmaster of http://www.hybridcars.hottestniches.com/ For more information on hybrid cars, latest hybrid car reviews and updates and links to hybrid cars, please visit http://www.hybridcars.hottestniches.com/

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

5 Buying Tips For Hybrid Cars

With the rising cost of gas, it is getting less and less affordable to own a car these days. As a result of this increase in cost, car manufacturers have lately been very aggressive in promoting their line of hybrid cars designed to save fuel.
While a hybrid car in general does saves you some money on gas, you may want to bear these points in mind when looking to buy a hybrid car.
1) Hybrid cars generally are more expensive than conventional gas powered cars. The price difference can be as much as $10,000. Hybrid cars are still new to consumers and may take a while before prices drop.
2) The batteries used in a hybrid car is different from a conventional car. The prices are much higher. They are about $2000 more expensive. However, hybrid car batteries have a longer life span as well.
3) The government has a tax deduction for hybrid cars owners. The hybrid car tax deduction varies from year to year but in general, you can save at least a couple of thousand dollars.
4) The cost of maintenance for a hybrid car is also higher. Also it has more complex systems and engine, a normal mechanic may not know how to repair it. In most cases, you need to send back to the hybrid car manufacturer for maintenance and repair and the cost is not cheap.

5) Hybrid cars use special tires that are wore out more easily than conventional cars. These hybrid car tires cost more and need to be replaced around 25,000 miles.
While the above points may seem that buying a hybrid car is more expensive, the fuel savings in itself is definitely worth it in the long run.
By: Ricky Lim, operates a hybrid cars site. Visit his site for more information on hybrid car battery and hybrid car tax

Monday, August 27, 2007

Toyota Launches 2008 Highlander Hybrid

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) USA now releases the details, specifications, and manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of the new 2008 Highlander Hybrid mid-size SUV that will roll out in Toyota dealer showrooms all over the U.S. this coming October.

As a hybrid model, the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is equipped with Toyota's patented Hybrid Synergy Drive(TM). The 2008 Highlander Hybrid is equipped with a 3.3-liter V6 engine under its hood, featuring four-wheel drive with intelligence (4WD-i). This powertrain is capable of pumping out 270 horsepower and comes with a newly developed powertrain feature like the EV Mode, ECON Mode and Hybrid System Indicator. The EV Mode feature enables the driver to use only electric power within a limited distance and at low speeds. The ECON Mode allows the driver to have a smooth throttle response to limit excessive acceleration. This is acquired by activating a throttle-control program. Meanwhile, Toyota's Hybrid System Indicator allows the driver to have a visual guide regarding the car's fuel consumption and offers guides to maximize the car's fuel economy.
The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid comes with a host of interior features and amenities. Standard interior features on the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Base model include AM/FM/CD with six speakers, leather-trimmed tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, and two rows of fabric-trimmed seats.
Like the GMC Acadia with GM bed mat , its competitor in the SUV segment, the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid also offers comfort and convenience for both the passengers and cargo. The flexible second-row seating features captain's chairs with armrests. This seating feature can be converted to a bench seat for three passengers. The "Center Stow(TM)" seat can be hidden in a compartment on the front center console when not in use, adding more interior space.

For the well equipped 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited model, standard components include three rows of leather-trimmed seats, rear glass hatch, power rear door, multi-stage heated front seats, AM/FM/six-disc in-dash CD changer, puddle lamps on outside mirrors, fog lamps and a third-row bench seat with foldable headrests, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
In addition, both the Base and Limited models are equipped with a stand-alone backup camera with a 3.5-inch LCD screen and Smart Key System with Push Button Start.

As expected for a Toyota model, both the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Base and Limited offer a bunch of active and passive safety systems. These include driver's knee airbag and roll-sensing side curtain airbags, active headrests for the driver and front passenger, Direct Tire Pressure Monitor System, Toyota's STAR(TM) Safety system with Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management, Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist.

The 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will roll out in dealerships carrying a base MSRP of $33,700, while the Highlander Hybrid Limited carries a base price of $39,950.

About the Author:Evander Klum is a Business Administration graduate who hails from Alabama. He enjoys extreme sports and he is also a car racing fanatic. At present, he works as a marketing manager at an advertising agency in Cleveland.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Avis to Add 500 Hybrids to Fleet By Anthony Fontanelle

Car rental company Avis will be expanding their fleet of eco-friendly vehicles. The company announced that 500 hybrid vehicles will be added to their fleet. According to information released by the car rental company, the 500 hybrids will be Nissan Altima units. These will be delivered to selected branches.

The addition of the 500 Nissan Altima Hybrid units will give customers of the company the choice between a Toyota Prius and the Nissan hybrid. Interestingly, the Altima Hybrid is designed using the powertrain design of the Prius. The Prius and the Altima Hybrid will be part of Avis’ Eco Rides selection.

The Altima is a midsize sedan while the Prius is a compact car. The difference between the two hybrid cars is the interior space. With the addition of the Nissan Altima Hybrid to the fleet, Avis is giving their customers a choice.

Incidentally, the Nissan Altima Hybrid was recently adjudged by Edmunds as the second best hybrid sedan in the market. According to the online source of auto information, the Camry Hybrid is better than the Altima overall. But in the fuel efficiency tests undertaken by test drivers for Edmunds, they found out that the Altima Hybrid is more fuel efficient than the Camry Hybrid on city driving. Overall though, the Camry has a better gas mileage when highway mpg is considered.

The choice of the car rental company of the Nissan Altima Hybrid may be because of its superior city driving gas mileage. The roomy interior of the Nissan Altima will also appeal to customers of Avis. This roomy interior is complemented by the high quality of materials used inside the car which includes the floor mats which are comparable to the Subaru cargo liner in terms of practicality. According to the company, the reason for the expansion of their hybrid car rental fleet is twofold.

Becky Alseth, the senior vice president of marketing for Avis Budget Group, Inc., explains: “In addition to consumers who wish to make their rental experience one with minimal environmental impact, we expect a substantial number of customers are thinking of purchasing a hybrid vehicle, and want to try the Nissan Altima or Toyota Prius for themselves to see how it performs.”

The purchase of the 500 units of Nissan Altima Hybrids will give the Japanese automaker a boost in promoting the hybrid car. With Avis’ wide reach, consumers will be exposed to the Nissan Altima Hybrid. The expansion will benefit both Avis and the automaker. With the promotion of the hybrid vehicles, Nissan can expect an increase in the number of visitors in their dealerships.

Aside from the Toyota Prius and the Nissan Altima Hybrid, Avis also offers other vehicles which is a part of their ‘Cool Cars’ collection. The collection includes the Eco Rides - the Prius and the Altima Hybrid. Other vehicles includes what the company labels as ‘Joy Rides’ - the Ford Mustang, Mitsubishi Spyder and Eclipse, Dodge Nitro and the Magnum. The ‘Ultimate Rides’ includes the Hummer H3, Cadillac CTS, Chrysler 300, Lincoln MKX, and the Chrysler Crossfire.

“All of our Avis Cool Cars can now be specifically reserved by individual make and model, and if that's the car you reserve, that's the car you will get,” said Alseth. “We look forward to adding more exciting and exotic vehicles to the Avis Cool Cars collection in the coming months.”

About the Author: Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kia Unveils Hybrid Car at Geneva Auto Show By KatieJones

Following the debate on stricter emission standards set by the European Union, car makers went into the 77th Geneva International Auto Show with green cars aplenty. Different car makers from different parts of the world showcased their contributions to the global effort of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Aside from Toyota which is already known for their hybrid vehicles, other car makers are joining the long line of car makers offering hybrid cars to the motoring public. One of these car manufacturers is the Korean contingent - Kia.

The Korean brand unveiled their Kia Rio Hybrid for the first time on European soil. The introduction of the Rio Hybrid to the European automotive scene is a celebration since Kia was commissioned to provide hybrid vehicles to the Korean Ministry of the Environment. Together with Hyundai, 3,390 units of hybrid cars will be delivered to the ministry for real world testing. The appearance of the Rio hybrid is also a show of force for the Korean brand. Although hybrid cars are not as famous in Europe as they are in the United States, Kia hopes to increase the popularity of hybrid vehicles in the European auto market.

The Kia Rio features a 1.4-liter 90ps gasoline engine coupled to a 12 kW, 95 Nm AC synchronized electric motor. The motor gives the engine an added boost during selected driving operations. The motor is located between the flywheel and the gearbox. It kicks into gear when the car is starting, accelerating or climbing. The battery pack of the hybrid car is continually recharged during braking. The car features a regenerative braking system which means that the energy given off during braking is recovered. The operation of the system may not be as simple as the operation of a Honda door handle , but it proves efficient on cutting down the amount of gasoline that needs to be burned to power the car.

Aside from the regenerative braking system and the electric motor, the Kia Rio is also equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). In fact, the Rio hybrid is the first ever Kia vehicle to be equipped with this technology. The components used in the Rio hybrid are also designed to reduce the load on the engine and electric motor by using lightweight materials. By reducing the weight of the car, Kia engineers gave the Rio a respectable acceleration. Thanks to the high torque produced by the electric motor, the Rio can go to a hundred kilometers per hour from a standstill in just 12.2 seconds. The hybrid car can attain speeds of up to 180 kilometer per hour. The most awesome thing about the Kia Rio hybrid is that it can travel a hundred kilometers on just 5.29 liters of gasoline, in other words, or units, the Rio has a gas mileage rating of 53.4 miles per gallon.

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About the Author:Katie Jones writes for a local newspaper and her beat involves the latest updates in the automotive industry. She is also working on her book on cars during her spare time.